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March 23, 2017

Crockpot Vegan Butternut Mac N Cheese

I was intrigued by a food blogger's recipe post for a mac and cheese that was not only vegan, but made in a crockpot, and featured butternut squash.  I couldn't wait to try it - but of course added my own twists, so I'm publishing my own recipe here, with a nod of thanks to the original by Kathy Hester at Healthy Slow Cooking.  

Like Kathy, I cooked my mac in my low-tech, standard size crock pot, which I believe holds 2.5 quarts.  It's a manual version and cost me $12 when I finally had to replace it this year, after my decade-old one was wrecked in an unfortunate dog-food incident.  The bigger crock pots may affect this recipe negatively, as the lower volume will make it hard for the sauce to properly coat and cook the pasta.  My recipe differs from hers in that I did my measuring in my shopping - I used whole cans and bags of prepped veggies, so most ingredients didn't have to be measured out.  This convenience shopping may not be economical, but if it gets me to eat my veggies, there's an objective in mind.  Also, I encourage anyone to add veggies your family loves - peas, mushrooms, cut up cauliflower florets.  I'm partial to mushrooms, and I added the basil as well. 

Please leave me a comment with your favorite vegan or crock pot meals.  I'd love to hear what you're cooking!

Crockpot Vegan Mac N Cheese

1 large (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice
2 (2 lb) bags Trader Joe's cubed butternut squash
1 (4 in) sprig rosemary
1/4 -1/2 tsp minced garlic

Add all above to crock pot bag and heat, covered, on low for 6-8 hours.  Be sure to include the liquid from the can of tomatoes in the crock pot as well.  

In the evening, add nutritional yeast and soymilk to the crockpot and blend with immersion blender.  

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups soymilk
1 box whole wheat elbow pasta
(optional) 1 bag Trader Joe's Mushroom Medley (seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and parsley), roasted
(optional) 1 cube frozen minced basil

In the evening, add nutritional yeast and soymilk to the crockpot and blend with immersion blender.  Once pureed, mix in the pasta, mushrooms, and basil and cover on low heat.  After 20 minutes, stir and test the pasta.  If sauce is too thick, add a bit more liquid (milk or water).  If the pasta is not yet al dente, continue to cook, checking every ten minutes until done. 

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